I wouldn’t say I had the best grades. Perhaps, I was selected by i-scholar initiative because of my penchant for success as inked in my SOP.
I am Basit JIMOH by name, a first-generation student. I was born in the boisterous city of Oshodi in Lagos, where I had my pre-tertiary education before enrolling in B.Eng. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, where I graduated top of my program with first-class honours in December 2019.
My interest in pursuing my graduate studies in one of the best Universities in the world stemmed in my final year when I had my major in power and control systems. However, the fear of not being able to afford the standardized exams and application fees left me in self-doubt, knowing fully well the financial constraints I had to overcome during my undergraduate years.
During my final semester of my undergraduate, a very good friend of mine whom I had discussed my interest in graduate schools told me about iSI and how they have helped many talented Nigerian students to achieve their dreams of studying in one of the best schools abroad through financial and mentorship supports. Immediately, I thought of leveraging the great opportunity from the initiative. I could remember staying up all night just to submit my application for iSI before travelling for my NYSC Orientation Camp at Adamawa State that same morning because I knew I would not meet up with the application deadline while in camp. It was a very tough and rough night drafting an SOP and submitting all other supporting documents. A few months later, as Almighty Allah would have his way I made the 2020 i-Scholar 50-man list. That very email from iSI informing me about my selection on the 18th of May, 2020 was the quantum leap I needed to believe I am a worthy and competitive candidate for graduate schools. I gave my standardized exams (sponsored by iSI) a try and I started applying to schools in late 2020 through the tutelage of the mentor assigned to me. Rejections rolled in, as usual, I got tired of everything along the line and thought of start preparing for fall 2022. But my mentors and other colleagues in this graduate school race would never stop encouraging me to keep shooting. I spoke to some friends who had already gotten positive replies for their advice and I also prayed to Almighty Allah for guidance. The whole rejection story turned around in early March 2021 when I started receiving loads of “congratulations” emails.
I am proud to say that as of today, I have several admissions for my graduate studies in Asia, Europe, and the US. Unfortunately, I would only accept one. I am forever grateful to all individuals (partners, sponsors, and scholars) at i-scholar initiatives who have contributed their money, time, skills, and other resources to the growth of this great organization. To my mentor, Dr. Akanbi, a special thank you for your unending words of encouragement throughout the journey; a journey that almost looks like it has no end. And to my other scholars, your supports, testimonies (wins), and encouragement did not make me stop applying. For those with multiple offers, I wish you the best in your decision and a successful graduate school journey in your respective programs. While for those still waiting on decisions from their programs, be strong and keep the faith, my dear scholars!
Finally, to prospective scholars reading this article, don’t forget this is another phase of your life. Never doubt yourself. Self-rejection is the greatest rejection. Keep applying and if it doesn’t go as planned, revisit your applications, don’t be shy to ask for help from other scholars and your mentors.
The journey doesn’t promise always to be smooth, but one certain thing is email(s) of “Congratulations” will drop if you keep doing the right thing and never stop shooting your applications. As an act of giveaway from me, I will leave you with this 5-word nugget to ponder over, “the best ability is availability”.
I wish you all a toothsome BREAKFAST to come in this journey.